Essay Question: Discuss the ways in which symbols and figurative language (imagery) are used to develop themes in at least two poems you have studied.
*No Ordinary Sun & Rain, by Hone Tuwhare*
Hone Tuwhare uses symbols and figurative language to develop themes in his poetry. Tuwhare's strength is his ability to use effective imagery and symbols to develop persistent ideas that, in the poetry I studied this year, relate to the purity and beauty of natural things. Rain, an apostrophe to a "rain god", and No Ordinary Sun, another apostrophe to a tree and Tuwhare's protest against nuclear weapons, reflect ideas about nature that are persistent in many of Tuwhare's works.
In No Ordinary Sun, a tree is a symbol for nature. The tree will suffer the effects of a nuclear catastrophe, perhaps mankind's most devastating intrusion into the natural world, and the "resilience" the tree once was able to exert against forces of destruction, would not be enough, "for this is no ordinary sun". Tuwhare compares the effects of a nuclear disaster to the situations the tree once had to face. He uses this comparison to emphasize the harsh effects of nuclear fallout on nature. The tree could once "blunt" an axe, or "smother" a fire, but now, its "former shagginess shall not be wreathed with the delightful flight of birds". Tuwhare also links the tree to its importance to humans in using a seemingly insignificant image of lovers shielding from the "monstrous sun" under the tree's arms. He does this to develop the idea that the impact of a nuclear fallout is not only limited to the effects on nature, but on humans and the simple activities that they enjoy in nature too. But most importantly, the tree is used as a symbol to develop the theme of the effects of nuclear weapons because the tree characterizes ideals such as strength and purity and by showing how the tree fails to fight the "the bright enhaloed cloud", the effects are further emphasized.
Tuwhare's word choice is...
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